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that are more than textbooks, materials that are also available? because that matters enormously to the education of our children and the health of the market. ..
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[applause] our coverage of the international summit of the book continues now by a panel called the publishing world yesterday and today. it about one hour 20 minutes. >> good afternoon, ladies and supplement. it's a pleasure see so many of you, so many old friends here. i have a great privilege of being senior consultant for the librarian of congress, and i am also a writer and editor in chief and the world. and also a veteran of the publishing world. i have worked for many years as a senior editor and also at simon & schuster as well.
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i have been around the block. a bit of a veteran in august. but we have learned so many things in this conference so far. such a delight in such a pleasure to have heard the wonderful keynote speech. the report from the frontline with so many countries like russia and south africa, to learn that the first encounter between europe and the new world, but between the conquistadors and into was over a book. with thomas jefferson and the wondrous discussion register. such a vibrant discussion.
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it is wonderful to know that it will go forward around the world. what we have learned is that the book culture is changing. although we all know, i think in our hearts, books provide a world of books which we have known for so long. to which we have dedicated our lives to visit did and has done from school to book from mouth to people. leather bound tomes to pocket books. i just finished writing a book which will come out next year. you know, libya would take a printing press on the battlefield and he would carry it along with the canon and the musket and the horses and cattle. there was a printing press and spanish would laugh at him. why was he lumbering through the jungle like this with a printing
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press. in the course of liberating six countries, he changed the language because he began to write in a kind of spam is very different. one that was very vibrant and not the spoken type of word that was spoken before. they said they bet if he were living today, he would've been using social media. and i'm sure that he would have. would he have changed the language? i don't know. of course, is that is what we are here to discuss today. which will bring us to the subject of the making of books. it is said that there is no end to the making of the vote. we are so fortunate to have a great panel to people here.
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we are still waiting for the fourth one to come, and i hope she will come and join us like an angel from on high, but we have -- wanted to make sure that we have two representatives from different houses. i chose nan talese and geoffrey kloske because they were to different corners of the industry. within 10 days or week ago, their houses merge, making them the largest publishing conglomerate in the world. although i thought i was inviting people to corners of the world, they have become one corner of the world even as our friends gathered together here. we are also very fortunate to
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have karen lotz and niko pfund. i would like to say a few words about the notable events of the past year just to set the stage. let me start with the events of the past year. first come after 244 years, encyclopaedia britannica announced in january of this year that it is stopping its prices, ceasing print publication, and going 100% digital. the last print version is a 32 volume, 130-pound 2010 addition.
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another highlight, the libraries folded in june, announcing for the first time that all shakespeare editions will be on e-book format for less price than a paperback, it is now downloadable, electronically readable, and printable upon demand. number three, publishers weekly, which is the official magazine of the publishing trade announced its choice for publishing person of the year. not hillary mantell, who is was the first woman to win the booker prize twice, and not anything like the ceo of penguin who really managed to balance nicely the
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digital and print publications of his company. he was the choice last year. and not the choice before, which was the barnes & noble person who managed to diversify his company at a very critical time and not going under is borders books. this year the choice was e.l. james, the fast porn author of "fifty shades of grey." because quote unquote, or erratic literature connects with people. so this is progress, folks.
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[laughter] now to the industry in general. i would like to talk briefly about the last five years. the largest user of the world as the united states. over the course of the last decade, we have seen that production version. when i began editing the world at "the washington post" in the '90s, american publishers were producing 50,000 books per year. ten years later, i'm still seeing the same position, and then they were producing 30,000 books annually. we were getting 100, 150 books a day, 40,000 books a year, only 1600 would be reviewed. in 2007, that number climbed to
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415,000 books a year, published by american publishers. in 2009, a mere two years later, 1,100,000 books were published according to welcker. two thirds of number seven hundred 25,000 self published. you see that the whole idea of self-publishing, the social media that is what they reported. i suspect that only a portion of those would be published by university presses. it means less and less of a
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market for each title. the average book in america, believe it or not, sells 250 copies per year. when you average the millions that stephen king myself, and the one that unites elle of your life if you were to be self published. the american association of publishers concluded that actually this is the interesting part for me. overall, books have actually been increasing steadily since 2008. adult trade book sales are generally out. children's book sales are up. e-books in 2011 outsold hardcover books for the first time. interestingly enough, paperback sales have plunged. that makes sense. people are reading off their
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books are more likely to do so on a handheld devices. but it's important to keep in mind that the publishing is a very unpredictable and eccentric business. every book is a new startup. when you think about that. part of research, development, design and production, it is a marketing strategy, it is audio development. you can't sell a book by ewen mcewen with the same strategy you used to sell patricia cornwell. each unto itself. it begs the question when we put an ad in "new york times" come it's not like putting an advertisement for a honda or a cadillac. it is one book.
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it is not random house advertising on its books. it's one book. it's a very different and very subjective business, which means that you can only fit so much when it comes to marrying books to readers, books for which publishers pay a deal for. when i was at schuster, they paid $8 million, which had been a record number for ronald reagan's memoir, called american life. you know, the math as well as i do. you need to sell 4 million books. not just write a million dollars, you need to sell 250,000. the book actually sold about 300,000 copies. so it was a spectacular failure. because of the comparison.
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it's a highly complex business with a very thin margin of process. when you add to that the dramatic changes in technology and the public demand, you have an industry that needs to redefine itself. nobody knows that more than the people sitting on the stage who are here to talk to you about it. you are either going to scramble to survive or take advantage of the unprecedented opportunity. that's what we'll talk about today. each of the panelists are waiting. i still hope that nan talese comes. she was taking the train and should be writing soon. we will see if she does. we will certainly bring her up to 10. and i would like to also give a quick overview of each author's career and their philosophy and
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how that philosophy has perhaps changed in the course of their career. first up is niko pfund. he joined new york university press in 1990 and wrote to become its director. he began at oxford in the junior position in law and social science of what he wrote to the ranks about the institution to become a tech executive. the cultural nature of human development, the accidental gorilla, peggy pascoe's book on law and race in america. daniel walker and his history of america between 1815 and 1848. ladies and gentlemen, niko pfund. anna.
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>> thank you very much for coming here. for listening to us talk friday afternoon. i'm so that we chose to spend your afternoon with us. i have spent 10 years working for a library in and spent about half of that time physically working in a library. as a director of nyu press, i am thrilled to be here and to talk to you about publishing. i was asked to give you a quick overview of our philosophy. it sounds a little pretentious, but i would say that in terms of how i look at what we do, it is squarely driven by the message of oup. we often say that we don't exist to make money, but we do have to make money to do the things that we exist to do.
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it really doesn't want form all the work that we engage in. personally, one aspect of what we do and it is a kind of publishing that i think that we do especially with well, take the work of scholars who exist speaking to members of their own discipline-based stripes and try to help them translate their work to a larger audience. that can sometimes be a real challenge. but it goes to the heart of what i think we should be doing. which is not just publishing works to very small groups of intellectuals, although that is actually a crucial part of what we do. but also trying to identify works that are rather important and bring those works to people who are interested in turn interested but do not reside in the academy.
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so i think the subtitle today and i would like to look back a little bit and tell you the differences attract moss 25 years. how people have responded, let's say a cocktail party when i tell them that i'm in publishing. it used to be that there were essentially two responses. the first response was to ask me whether i read everything that i have published, which was always we impossible. the other was to tell me about your book idea. that, of course, is exactly as it should be. but i was always reminded of a statistic that appeared in the harvard index many years ago. those of you know how they justify statistic sometimes. they asked a group of people how
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many people do they think or what percentage of the population should write books. i recall correctly, it is an impressionistic anecdote. and i think the numbers are three or 4%. then they asked the exact same group of people. what about you when you? you have a book and you'll? something like 75% of people said yes, i have a book in me. [laughter] and i think that that is, in some ways, that is where publishers web. when i tell people that i'm in publishing, and they tend to be reacting in two different ways. the first is that people instantly launch into this impassioned monologue about their own personal eating
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habits. used to be just a few years ago -- it was how much they loved the relationship between the thumb and forefinger when they're holding the book, and what's interesting is how that has started to change. people now -- i never would've thought that this would happen with handheld. the point is not that it has changed. it is more that people feel incredibly passionate and they will talk to you about it. it doesn't really matter whether they're shifting, whether they switched entirely. it is something that people feel extremely passionate about. and if there's one thing i hope that you come away from, at least my comments thinking, but things really quite are not as
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dire as they may look sometime or have you believe. if the challenge is on the publishing industry, i don't think there's ever been a better time for reading. that is a crucial distinction. reading is a fundamental human experience. reading is the encounter of silence of two minds. that is really important. the publishing industry is important as it facilitates this. but there is an enormous difference. i think it's an important difference to highlight. the second reaction of people have is when they commiserate. they look at me and say, okay. it must be tough out there in publishing. every time i pick up "the new york times" and read the phrase the crumble of the publishing industry comes out. and i think it's worth pointing out about the publishing person of the year that as i was
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sitting in my office last night trying to finish up, i was writing a letter to our staff, informing them that one of the guess we were providing our staff for the holidays, we will give everyone a free copy to american history and has written this marvelous book. somebody sent me an e-mail, which was an article from "the new york times" about how random house had given every single member in $5000 holiday bonus. [laughter] that was obviously a little discouraging. but i think it's crucial to highlight that there is a direct connection between the publishing and book like that.
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which has been obviously fantastically successful. the ability to actually sustain the public even as it does a host of different things. i must point out that i haven't read that book yet, but my wife is a teacher, sometimes it is actually a great thing to get people reading. and i think that the notion that harry potter was essentially a gateway drug to books for an entire generation. [laughter] i thought that was a really interesting way of putting that. okay, so i want to read to you from a letter from the sunday times magazine from last week. as i'm about to self publish my novel after rejections from big publishers, all they do is put a big cut and right now it is
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giving me the chance to have with the industry to 90. access to readers. i get that a lot. i think we all did that a lot in publishing. her response to that is yes and no. i think that one of the best things for publishing the last decade has been the democratization of dissemination. anybody come up for a few hundred bucks, can print out their poems from their family histories, their memoirs. that is a really good thing. it might not be a great thing in terms of all the other books have been printed, environmentally, but it is actually -- it's a good thing. the el james book originally started that way. but it's also really important to point out.
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there's more to publishing now than it has ever been. one of the things that you hear a lot is double running. the idea that we are doing one thing and trying to build a new business that's related to old business, and you're having to do two things at once. whereas before, you're having to do other things. netflix is a perfect example of this. they obviously have to know that in 10 years people will not be watching movies by shifting objects through u.s. postal system. if that still exists. so they are creating this, you know, this delivery system and publishers are in a position, i would say, or we are dealing with triple running. we are doing old things are always on one hand. we are marketing and promoting, doing publicity, pretty much all
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of that as it has been done before. some of it has gone a little bit easier. we can do multiple short runs, but there have been benefits. we're still doing on that. secondly, we are doing all these old things in new ways. so when you start selling e-books, you have to create a whole infrastructure selling e-books. social media, the promotion of working in social media. for a press like oxford, which is almost split between second-language publishing, we have about 50 officers and historically we have looked at many of these markets is just that. markets. now we are moving more and more to where we should be finishing. that is an enormous ship. finally, we are doing completely
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new things that we've never thought of or done before. we have biographies online, and it is an example of how something like this comes out. we ran out and we asked, what you want from us? you are the dog. we are the tail. how do you want us to whack? what else should we do? but we kept hearing over and over again, regardless of who we talked to, is that we are just into the wall by this firehose of information. what we want is someone to help us make sense of it all. it's just too much stuff now. it's not a failed bibliography,
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it's a subjective resource that helps with what we have decided to do. what is good and what is not good. that has been extremely successful. but again, it requires a host of different ways of thinking. and i think it's important when one makes a point that is made. you know, it sounds like it's a little bit of having it hard. but i think that that kind of beside the point. people vote with their wallet, that of mediation has been hanging over publishing for 15 years since it was no coupon viewed it that way. and so i don't actually worry about that.
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i'm actually quite confident that we will be fine in that respect. so just a few closing thoughts. i would say that many publishers i know, including oxford have embraced the notion of this. we want to get good books to as many people as we can. increasingly, in the globalized world, a world where there is a booming middle class, especially in places like india and china, we want to try to get as many books and journals and access to online content as we can. as many people as possible. at the lowest price we possibly can, while still propelling our mission and doing what we think we should be doing. i think that is a very critical distinction. he said something that i had written down because i thought it was so interesting.
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people are already reading or using for free. if you offer it at a reasonable price, it is important. i think that is a debatable notion. by that i mean that it is actually generally debatable. i'm thinking about how we should be doing what we have long done and how we can do differently. it's already changed the way that i think. the vietnam person was walking down the street and she saw some of our english language training books and so she thought that that was terrific. it was like a newspaper stand, essentially. and then she was thrilled to see if they had the ministry of education, the anti-piracy hologram on him. and then she was dismayed when she looked more closely and realized it was actually a pirated edition with a hologram
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on. and i say pi rated because i'm not entirely comfortable with that out of context. but you can make the argument that even though it may not be desirable for people who taking the content and selling it in any an illegal fashion, it is creating a consciousness of oxford in that market that didn't exist before. again, from a mission standpoint, it is their worst crime. finally, to clothing socks -- closing thoughts. i ask you to admonish future publishing. the wikipedia integrators, the book will never die series everyone stakes out these extreme positions. i can tell you from this vantage
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point about a billion dollars a year medical textbooks, college textbooks, highly specialized academic research. you know, it's just a messy time right now. one of the ways in which we are struggling to figure out how to fulfill our mission. while sustaining the assets of all of these dissemination models. a lot of these have to do with hardware. that's kind of what i mean. finally to close on an encouraging note. i really think that there has never been a better time for books. i can't remember when the room like this has more people in it when you have a conversation
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like this. because people really do care about books. people have a deeply autobiographical relationship to books. and i think that given that we live and breathe books come about, not votes pretty well for us. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, niko pfund. thank you for keeping the standards so high. indeed, there are wonderful books in published today. there seems to be no shortage of great books. next we have geoffrey kloske. he's the vice president and publisher of riverhead books. a dynamic maverick arm of penguin books. he has been an executive editor at simon & schuster and an editor at riverhead. he has managed to infuse his own distinctive personality. in the course of his career, he has published authors like david
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taveras, david edgar, bob dylan, and juno via. geoffrey kloske, please. [applause] >> thank you so much for holding the summit. for the future of the book, a future that has, as we have discussed, a future that is very much always in doubt. one thing that i always do is read the headline about the publishing from "the new york times" read and i quizzed them is when they think those were written. there are things like editors and edits and being published and the decay of our book culture and our intellectual culture and so forth.
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can find them in different forms. the fairly similar forms almost every decade for the last 100 years. but publishing is a melancholy industry for some reason. we are always in a fallen age. i have been doing it for 20 years, and the golden age ended right before i showed up. [laughter] and it really went in high swing, depending on the age of the person telling the story. [laughter] but it has always been the case. the spirit of not quite being what they used to be. which is amazing, because when you show up everyday and we do it again and we publish new books and get excited about
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things -- which maybe makes us look publishers deal with incredible hope. a rational hope sometimes. many books can fail critically, commercially, but we live with the fact of failure and we continue on finding new authors with a great deal of hope and ambition. i look at the penguin group, which is the largest english-language trade publisher in the world. we have a number of them doing different things. there is pending paper, which everyone has heard of, it started in 1935 and seeing an opportunity for low-priced
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paperbacks, it was published with 10 different titles within the first two years. then it sold a few million copies. it really created a format and the peace of the industry. and we also published by the bucs. the putnam books target as the book fellow in boston. there are many books. so they became publishers and publish things like daniel hawthorne -- excuse me, nathaniel hawthorne and tom clancy. we also publish the grapes of wrath and steinback not publishers many best-selling fiction and nonfiction artists.
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i am the publisher of riverhead. we are very specialized and our goals is to bring new perspective and new voices to the readers. we are always looking for something appealing to we haven't heard before. there was a book published by a guy i heard on the radio. it was something about his voice and i have to call him up and buy that book. it turned out that i was not alone. many people wanted to hear that same as well. we have this irrational hope in the midst of a constant state of collapse.
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and we continue to do it. it has been touched on here at the summit, a lot of the history of book publishing is coming together of format around successful publishers. they have adopted new formats and augmented them into a single company. paperback and hardcover as well. which was a problem for paperback publishers because they needed products. so they bought them were started hardcover in this way. ultimately, it is about the books. as most of us are, we are agnostic about that support, we want to bring books to readers. we waited for them and enjoy them whether it is one of the
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writers at oxford or not. so we take a lot of care in developing them overtime. working closely with the writers and the marketing of the book to try to create leadership. we have been doing it for about 18 years. [inaudible] several authors are the kinds of authors that we look for in publish. with this enduring hope and a state of pride. [applause] >> thank you so much, geoffrey kloske. we do have that kind of hope. he has been enormously a big
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support wes. he is very modest about it. i am so glad to see that nan talese has made it. i have explained what i have asked of you is for you to tell a little bit about your career and about your personal philosophy of book publishing and how that philosophy has changed or held up or modified in your very long and illustrious career. nan talese is senior vice president of doubleday. she is the publisher and editorial director. she has worked at simon & schuster for becoming part of random house party. she was published has published in the most distinguished authors of our time, among them, martha atwood, thomas cary, very
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emsworth, valerie martin, and jack conrad. nan talese. [applause] i do apologize for being late. amtrak engine decided it wanted to put on the brake. when dictated by itself. i had a terrible time getting it out. but here i am. as marie has said, in a very long career learning publishing of random house you at the time that publishing was often referred to as the golden years. random house, roger straus, [inaudible]
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it was really -- it wasn't a joke. you had to have enough money to go into it to start with. i started in my interests have always been fiction and nonfiction. that has been published in the 60s and 70s, and i was at simon & schuster workers began to publish margaret atwood. i commissioned it at that point. there were two books to be published at the same time. one was perfectly wonderful. so i would make an offer on one.
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so when dad got a letter from him, and he said, i have come upon these remarkable files. are you interested? because you have always been so nice in these works. and i said can you tell me a little bit more. so he wrote a little bit. and we had to have -- well, we didn't have an agent in dealing with this because i found out later that his life had oregon sold to mgm. so he had to pay back mgm to write schindler's list. the head of simon & schuster said, oh, don't bother. but i was quite keen on
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publishing this book and author. eventually i did. and i paid a shocking price in today's market. $60,000 and, of course, the book has never been out of print. steven spielberg did the movie, and i remember one he telephoned me and said we are really making a good film. [laughter] and i stayed until 1981. and i went to hell, it was much more, i learned a great deal. but houghton was an
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old-fashioned publisher that i was more used to. it was wonderful. the authors followed me. so for about six and a half years, that was at the time that there were all these takeovers random house -- random house was the first one to go public. and then it went into the office and said we are going public and there will be a stock offer. everything will go up, then we'll go right down again. i am not advising anyone to buy stock, i'm just telling you what to do. and then when i was at simon & schuster, golf and western blot simon & schuster. it was already a publicly held
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company. i remember the director coming to me and saying, you know, they're not going to sell the trade edition. and i thought, they just brought here. stop telling me they're not going to tell me. it was very hard, 90% of the company was a textbook division. and as much as i didn't want to leave, i felt that the general books were being shortchanged and i was traveling up and down between the head of the boston office in the new york office, so i kept having to take the
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shuttle back and forth. last summer i was there, i realized i was traveling 100 miles a week. not really doing anything. so i resigned from the boston shuttle, not really from the rest. [laughter] so everyone came along with me to doubleday. when i was at houghton, they assigned me to him and he was getting one terribly well. and i remember -- i mean every writer is very different. pat sends a thousand plus pages and it's up to you to do with it
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what you can. having never worked for them, i don't know what to do. time frame, it seems, and he shook his head and said [inaudible] so as you know, that left an impression. so we sign him up for another book. just after that time. i went to doubleday. and said that i really don't want to stay here. so it's a perfectly good contrast, i can't do anything about it. it is entirely up to you. so i think that he finally said he was never going to write another book.
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so he came to doubleday and after i had been there two years and it was rather chaotic, i said that i can't work in chaos. so i started my own imprint. and that was in 1990. and i have continued to publish the same writers ever since. all the books that i have done, each one of them has something in common. that is storytelling and they are passionate about what they are writing. that goes on in my imprint. obviously, in the last year and a half, it has been a very dicey time to say the least. and i am sorry that i missed everyone else talking about it.
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but i feel that i have just been going on during the literary fiction and nonfiction in the independent booksellers creating supporters of my own. in america we started much earlier than i thought. we have been beginning to get a set. there was a book called a houghton. it was about developed on and i've had to take space. the story takes place in amsterdam.
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where if you put your finger on it, it takes you through and if you put your finger on the text, it will be read aloud to you. it was what the books were supposed to do but it was really it. and i do think that that is really going to eventually -- a lot of it -- that would lead to what most people would want. because you can listen to it and you have a good deal of history. not every book is adaptable to that. but i continue to publish at random house. i don't have any new tricks except marketing. we do a lot more marketing on the internet. and we ever did before. publicity is, although it is important, it really is about big authors that are already established.
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i am not sure how we will measure the young writers. i think i have published seven books by ian mcewan before there was any awareness of that. so i think the big changes are going to be small advances for all of us. unless it's something very topical. i remember being very impressed. i thought there were only 4000. [laughter] he thought there were 9000. [laughter] and so what i'm going to do is continue to publish. someone from sales came in the other day and you probably read about this.
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e.l. james who wrote "fifty shades of grey." she came into the office and said i can't believe it, i'm still pushing that book. and i said it's just fine and i'm continuing to publish my good books. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, nan talese. she does publish incredibly good books. so glad you could make it. karen lotz has been the publishing press clean for several years. she publish the book what color is my room by kareem abdul-jabbar. lester she took to the additional responsibility of being the managing director of walker books.
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she manages to split her time between london and massachusetts were candlewick books is based. she is truly a global publisher. please welcome karen lotz. [applause] >> thank you so much. thank you everyone. it is such an honor to be here and to be included in the summit. thank you all for your attention. one of our speakers earlier today, tom allen, talked about the world of publishing today is in many different facets now. and i would say that that is the corner of what i hail from. children's publish weight is rapidly becoming even more
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different from our big bucks. in children's books we call it adult publishing, which takes it in to be e.l. james family, but children's books is interesting when you think about the context of yesterday as well. we have been looking at the past. we have talking a lot about classics and very ancient and beautiful books, including the ones we saw last night. and we feel that children's books -- we have actually scaled down in the theme. creating literature specifically for children is rather new in the large history of publishing. i think that is something that is very interesting. when you look at some of the big titles that have united us over the last couple decades, harry potter, twilight. a lot of these have come out in
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the teenager arena, and they have united readers of all ages. there was a time when i began my career when i wasn't really true. and i think i was probably always in one way or another and i think my father knew best. because when i was just about to head off to college, he took me out for breakfast and he didn't she did live with me at the time but he said i hope you find your college education to be well as long as you promise us one thing. don't major in english. [laughter] so virtually anything else i could have picked. [laughter] would be on airing wisdom of youth, i agreed and i studied poetry. in a more direct path to the job
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market, if it was mine when i got there. and i had very definite plans for publishing. the types of books that i would work on, and i went through the columbia publishing course. i have not done my homework. a tremendous amount of homework that you had to do. as a punishment, i was put in children's books. because at that time, nobody wanted to be in children's books. of course i protested and thought it was awful. actually, when i met those that were teaching, they were amazing people. they were so dedicated. in one summer, it completely changed not just my view of what children's books were, but my entire life. i ended up working for one of them and the day that i arrived
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was the day of the announcement of the first of many mergers, which would take us through the days of penguin putnam and now they have merged with random house. one of my jobs as the lowest assistant on the totem pole was to keep something called the key to this material library. it was actually in the lobby of the building. we would walk in, but the key on the floor, and while that swing open, like in batman. behind it was the archives. behind those archives were amazing treasures. the gentleman who invented the pop-up book, how to make the first pop-up book, things like that. the next file cabinet had
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wonderful things as well. when i finally got it open. it was full of royalty checks from the 1970s that he had not wanted to mail. so they were in a filing cabinet. ..
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and we published only children's books, so we start with zero and we go all the way up three teenagers and then we publish some books about the craft as children's literature as well. we are part of a group of companies that have its origins in a man named sebastian marker who was a bridge, a publisher in corporate publishing in england. he is said that he needed to make a place where authors and illustrators could essentially, as a haven from big business. he left at the company to his family and have to the employees individually purchased the whole company. we have now a children's television company that is very small and new. we have two big presses in the united states. in london we also have 115 of our authors and illustrators who
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publish for a long time and invite them to be part owners of the company. what this means is that they are as depressed the end of the year as the rest of us when there's not a tremendous amount of profit to share, but it often means terrible to thank them for everything that they do and is also a fabulous reminder to those of us who work , our authors and illustrators are really what it is all about. they're part of a creative decision making in the strategy of the company. and with this model we have to sort of bump along and we have been able to really publish some amazing books and authors. we try to do it globally wherever possible and whenever practical. and we are really, i think, an incubator in a way for the connectedness that is now affecting the whole industry because basically in order to get our print runs big enough to work and to have the company survive we have always had to work with each other. even though we are sharing a
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common language, english in theory, there are a lot of challenges to that in the day-to-day practice of it. that is who we are. the other thing, i just wanted to quickly say about the challenge is obviously talking about the place were dismal and print publishing meat and for the portion of our list that is extremely relevant. we were talking about childrens' books commander talking about books for children 0-3, 0-6 all over again. i think it is just a whole other question and a big new set of issues. there is a phrase that often comes up at our meetings. when people are getting for one reason or another, margins on working, sales are happening, something is going on. someone inevitably says okay, this is children's books, not brain surgery.
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a few years ago it suddenly hit me to actually commit is brain surgery because will be doing is creating the books that are building their reading brain hopefully, and that is something that we keep very much in mind. trying to make the best books for children. high-definition remains the books that will help children grow to become lifelong leaders. part of less is inherent, we are putting it together with learning how read and write, what does that mean? a world of tablets and devices and applications instead of the tactile world of beautiful objects. i think it means only good things, but right now i would say we are definitely in the middle of the big squeeze. if you will pardon the metaphor, maybe it is the birth canal and we will see what happens when we come on the other side. but it is a very, very
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interesting time, and i think it is important for all of us to clearly care so much about bucks to remember that with this truly golden age of production that is going on we need to figure out how to make those connections with those very young children and get the reading right away, and that will be the key to any future that we want to have. thanks. [applause] >> i think that's the first time -- can you hear me? think is the first time i have ever heard a children's publisher being referred to as brain surgery. very true. i'm going to ask a question about that in a moment. we actually have time for very few questions. fifteen minutes, but which means i will limit it to the big questions. the big questions, i have two big questions really. the first big question to all of you is really, too many books.
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i think -- i remember the new york times complaining. to many of the market. and certainly self publishing amazon and the kugel and apple have in their rush of publishing have, perhaps, taken a different stand on the standard. perhaps even lower the bar of quality in the kind of books that man has been talking about for all of us have been talking about really. because i see it as a money-making business. in other words, the more you turn up the more money you make. does not matter whether it is self published books or whenever , but what happens, of course, is that the publishing enterprise that requires state keeping that judgment and sort of a notion of what is it that makes it a book great and
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lasting an indoor rink and a piece of literature or a piece of important information, sometimes that goes by the by when you keep making more and more books. so i ask you, are we making too many books? certainly, the librarians and the audience here have been archiving them maybe are a little fearful when i quoted the figures about ahead 50,000 going to 330,000 going to a million to 3 million. >> for those of you in the audience, i'm interested to know how many of you have noted in last year or two how many of the s in your books are actually adds from what are called authors service houses are vanity presses comex levers, university of the house because what struck me, and i -- i traffic and moving circles where people pay a lot of attention to
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what is reviewed and advertised, how remarkably few academics see the sense. at think that is actually a useful metaphor for that this 3 million new books because i actually think they are largely invisible. i don't think they cluttered the literary landscape to the extent that people think they do. i think that people just don't see them, and that think you could make the point that in each of the last issues over the last year or 2i would say of this house have been the primary, if not the primary, one of the top to advertisers for the new york review of books. and for a press like oxford and publishers of nonfiction and i think it's actually fantastic. what it means is shoring up a very important vehicle for us without affecting our advertising dollars. and so what it is, you know, every author understandably wants to be right. somebody made a comment earlier
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about the importance of hope over experience, and we all traffic in that. without that we would not be able to come to work every morning. but i think the question is actually more a question about are there too many books published by traditional publishers? at think there probably are, but i don't have any idea how one goes about preventing that or whether that is actually genuinely a problem . >> i think there are too many books in the and that think there always will be too many books. you know, of all the arts, the book is the most personal. i mean, movies together, we seek paintings and photography and museums together. we listen to music together. but when you open a book its you and the readers voice command that's all. and because it is very personal, there are perhaps a lot of
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different tastes. i know a lot of the best sellers are books that i passed on, but cited not think were good enough . that is hard for the company to keep going, but one thing, too many books and the other thing is that now we all have to begin reading foreign literature and understanding more on the global community. i think i do quite a bit of translation which, you know, 2,000 copies sold, but a few in e-book. and this is that people have very different taste and it with amazon and self publishing, you know, the 50 shades of gray was not self published. it was just a small publisher. published in australia. but to me you know, i think there always will become a but i
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think editors, probably, too many editors acquiring books. and we will see if that goes down, but the one thing you mention, the new york review of books and and i always ask that my books be put in the new york review of books because i think that is where serious readers are. and so from my type of book, that is perfect. for best-selling, you know, page turning, "usa today" is the best place to advertise. but we always have to many books. >> i think the notion of publishers as gatekeepers is of false conceit. and now with the author services , everyone should just give it up. it has never been the case.
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there are no gatekeepers because there is no date. some publishing and distribution has actually been possible for decades. so it is the wrong way to think about it. some people now like to talk about, well, it's more like duration. i think that is the wrong conceit as well. it's more into is used publisher has enthusiasm and millions of books published and you have to pick the good ones and a share them with a lot of people. and that's the challenge. focusing on the number of books. [laughter] that's the wrong way to go about it. >> i like that. enthusiasm. how about you? >> i think that we could flip it and say the fact that there are books being published, it means there are so many more riders. as you know, riders are great
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consumers of books, so therefore there are a lot more readers. those writers were just actually buy more books we could get those average print runs out right there. the community. >> zillow loving circle. >> that's right. >> now. [laughter] i was told he would be. now i want ask a question that has concerned dr. billington, librarian of congress, who has -- i have -- he has posed the question to me personally and to people in the outer libraries, obviously something that concerns some very much and concerns all of us. that is, what is -- i mean, you publishers are, as you have said
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so well now, you are publishing a book that is going to be opened and shared as a kind of brain experience. we have heard that as well between a reader and writer. and we have known but that has met over the course of centuries of reading in the codex form, but what happens to cognition, to the way we think, to the way we process information much of the way we are inspired much of the way we are moved, to the way we are desires, our ways, what happens to all of that when the process of reading has changed? is this something the you're thinking about in publishing? is this something you're thinking about when you are looking at that hand-held device that does all those things, that takes you to, you know,
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developed you're reading. what are you considering al as publishers, as people, as and diseases, people will have to work with this new technology if we move forward. what are you thinking and planning? >> i think one thing is, i just have to share this. he said coming in the summertime i always go up and down the beach to see what people are reading. they all have those candles. i have no clue, so we're going to have to invent some sort of bubble that tells you what they're reading. plus i think, right now part of the transition is that people i fascinated with these two new technologies. and i live in new york. people are -- they don't talk to
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other people. they are on their iphone solid time. and i think for ten years are so we are just going to have to hold ourselves together. less of profit and more of the importance. i mean, when you think of how books change the world. i mean, it's rather amazing. but now, television became so popular. it is not what is on television that is harmful. it is every 15 minutes is a commercial. and there is no sense of concentration. and quite frankly, i think that in the yen degenerations they never learned the ability to concentrate. some have. you're still going to get readers, but you are going to get them in fewer numbers. and hopefully as the education
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system members there will begin to grow, but you cannot -- the hyperkinetic human being and reading in 800 page book. it just doesn't work. >> one of the decisions we try to make is the difference between the mercy of reading, which is what is being talked about and then the more extractive research-based work that happens a lot in the world of the academy. and i think that that has proven to be a very helpful distinction for us as we try to transition a lot of our books online, as we try to create online resources for our constituents. a good example, something we just launched online which is all of the work that we have published, something like 700 scholarly editions, the definitive work of major thinkers all over the world throughout the ages.
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focus on the last 200 years. i think the value of that in terms of people's research, in terms of what we're doing as a press to enhance knowledge is vastly improved by the fact that all of this content is on line, searchable. it is far more variable and useful than having the open before you. i think their is a great deal to be gained on the extractive and research side. immersive reading, i have a candle and i actually don't want to upgrade to tablet because i think one of the reasons i love my kindle another reason allow the people of their e-readers because they make you a better reader. it just is one thing. the idea that we are moving toward this conflation of
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functions, the single object, i actually don't want that. i think carrying around something that weighs a pound is a price well worth paying. i would argue that the kindle actually makes me a better reader. i find it up less experience. >> i don't have any predictions about how reading was changed, but i do know publishers, we spend a lot of time investing in technology and strategies and to experiment and failed, to make a sort of progress. do a lot of the rating to see. the open market will decide. >> i see -- i see your readers

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Book TV
CSPAN December 29, 2012 3:00pm-4:20pm EST

Book Panel Education. (2012) 'The Publishing World Yesterday and Today.' New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 13, New York 7, Nan Talese 6, Geoffrey Kloske 4, Niko Pfund 4, America 4, E.l. James 3, Karen Lotz 3, Boston 3, Riverhead 3, United States 2, Simon & Schuster 2, Houghton 2, Oxford 2, London 2, Harry Potter 2, Schindler 1, Steinback 1, Martha Atwood 1, Tom Allen 1
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